Wings Sign 2003 Pick Howard

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Thursday the signing of 2003 draft pick Jimmy Howard to a three-year entry-level contract. Howard will forego his senior season at the University of Maine and is likely to join the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate.

Howard, a 21-year-old goaltender, was drafted by the Wings with their first pick (2nd round, 64th overall) of the 2003 NHL entry draft. In three seasons with the Maine Black Bears, he posted a 1.84 goals against average, a .931 save percentage, and a school record 15 shutouts. His overall record was 47-23-10.

"Howard had an outstanding collegiate career," said Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill. "We expect him to come into camp battling for the No. 3 position. He's a strong prospect and we look forward to having him in our organization for many years."

"I have been dreaming of playing in the National Hockey League all of my life, and to get one step closer to that goal is special," said Howard. "I really enjoyed my three years at Maine. Playing in front of the greatest fans in college hockey is something that I will never forget. It has been a priviledge to wear the Maine sweater. I wish all my teammates the best this season."

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